I have a Canon t6i and recently the pictures I have taken in manual mode are coming out black. When I use live shooting the screen is black. However there is a brief moment when the camera 'focuses' that I can see what Im taking a picture of, but the pictures still come out black. I have tried changing the aperture and shutter speed but it didn't help. Ive also checked if the shutter was stuck. All other modes seem to be working fine.

  • What are the lighting conditions when you take these black pictures? What ISO, shutter speed, and aperture are you selecting? – Michael C Jun 9 '16 at 5:38
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    Why are you using Manual mode? "I have tried changing the aperture and shutter speed but it didn't help." What did you change them to? Random settings? Do you understand the exposure triangle? – osullic Jun 9 '16 at 8:10
  • Can you add the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO of an underexposed photo from manual mode and a correctly exposed photo from another mode? As others have answered, it's probably that your exposure settings in manual mode are to dark, but that would allow someone to confirm or disprove. – j_foster Jun 10 '16 at 0:50
  • I see a lot of condescending answers here. Why must you assume he or she did something wrong. It's pretty difficult to get a totally black picture unless you are shooting at a scene in your backyard at midnight. Usually, you will get something on the screen or in your photos, even if they are dim. – 6581william Apr 20 '18 at 0:33
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    @6581william To the contrary — when using manual mode in a dim situation, it's really easy to get an apparently-all-dark image. – mattdm Feb 11 at 1:33

I have tried changing the aperture and shutter speed but it didn't help.

Not to state the obvious, but what you change the aperture and shutter speeds to matters a lot. What were the settings you used? Also, check the ISO and exposure compensation settings.

A good way start is to take a photo in Program mode. If the exposure looks good, check the values that the camera chooses for aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Switch to manual and use the same settings that the camera did, and you should get a similar exposure (assuming the lighting hasn't changed).

Also, learn to use the light meter. In manual mode, the meter will show you how much light the sensor will see given the current exposure settings.


When you're in manual mode, you can shoot yourself in the foot all you want. This includes underexposing to the point of having a black frame. Check your meter. Unlike all the other automated modes, in M mode, the camera doesn't automatically adjust your settings to shove your meter's "needle" to 0. This is actually a feature, not a bug. But if you haven't shot in M mode before, you may be so used to the camera always putting the needle on 0 for you that you no longer look at it, or think you need to do anything like that.

"0", btw, isn't always exactly correct, it's just what your camera's autoexposure system thinks is correct. Which is why we like having M mode: for those times the AE system is wrong and the meter is misleading.


Do not take this wrong, but all the other modes are automatic. This one depends on you, so... learn how to control the camera.

The situation you describe sounds to me that it is very dark, because you say that the camera focus for a moment and that is the only moment you see what are you photographing. That can be the focus asistant light. The rest of the time the scene is black.

Try to learn photography in daylight not in the dark.

Find this indicator on your camera:


It tells you the light is ok when it is on the middle. Read your camera manual.


Whenever someone hands me a camera in manual mode and asks why the pictures are all dark, usually the ISO is too low and the shutter speed is too fast and the aperture is closed down.

  • Try setting ISO to auto. Set aperture wide open (smaller number), and set shutter speed to something reasonable like 1/60 sec.

  • Consider learning to use the priority modes (Av or Tv) first.

When it's only the LCD that's dark, it's usually because it's turned off.

When both are dark except briefly in certain circumstances, likely exposure simulation is enabled in addition to insufficient light from ISO, aperture, and shutter speed settings.

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